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Day for night on the DVX-100A

Eddie Chae

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Nice to see diverse people stepping forward for same goals.


I'm the gaffer for a short film which will start shooting on the 4th of August. The DP and I did some tests on a site(woods on a small mountain) with the DVX-100A and we were definitely not happy with the results. Since the director wanted a deeper looking image and due to lack of lighting equipment we decided to go day for night.

We used the ND option on the camera, and set it at 1/8.

We set the exposure to the highlighted brushes on the background(which were reading 8), and the spot where the action occurs(inside the trees, where just a couple rays of sunlight come in) was reading 4. That makes a 2 stop difference. We shot each take decreasing the exposure by 1/2 stops. The last shot was taken at exposure 22, where we could see barely nothing in the foreground.


After we got back and looked at the footage on Final Cut Pro and a separate monitor, strangely the images were lacking in sharpness and had some grainy effects(as the effects which occur on film, when it is not stored properly, usually on the low key ends) on the low key parts.


Here are some questions.


I was wondering if the DVX-100A needs at least some absolute luminance in order to operate properly. Because most of our takes were definitely way off low key. Probably the only spots above N was some little holes of sky way back in the background. (We didn't bring any lights to light up the shady parts of the woods for the test, but we will for the actual shoot.) We compared our takes with some other footage other people shot for their work, but only ours seemed to have this exact problem.


Is there a difference between the Series 9 Round ND Filters we normally use and the interior ND filter option for the camera. Because the interior ND option seems to have some color effect on the takes. (The white balance was set to daylight(5500K), which was the default setting.)


And can anyone give me some real advice on day for night? This is the first time I am using this technique for a film or DV.



Thanks for reading. Since english is not my first language I may some weird looking sentences. I'll be looking forward for all the great advice I can get from all you guys.



Eddie Chae

Korean National University of Arts

Seoul, Korea

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You're probably just seeing noise and compression artifacts. To get the best out of small DV cameras in situations like this - hell, to get the best out of any camera - you really need to look at shooting it way brighter than you want it and modify later. This gives the camera and the DV compression electronics something to grab hold of, and you'll end up with a much cleaner result.


This is definitely worth testing, as it'll look considerably too bright on the monitor. You might consider setting up with lots of ND in the way, then pulling the ND for the take, but you still need to take extra care that nothing blows out since blown-out areas dragged down in post look awfully flat.



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